Sickle Cell Disease: Considerations for Acute Pain Management in the Hematology-Oncology Ambulatory Setting

Elizabeth Pohl

anemia, sickle cell disease, acute pain, pain management, nursing, ambulatory care
CJON 2021, 25(5), 605-607. DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.605-607

Owing to the lack of specialized care and the unpredictable nature of acute pain episodes in adults with sickle cell disease (SCD), emergency departments have been largely used to provide care for these patients. The lack of specialized care for patients with SCD portends higher healthcare costs and lower health-related quality of life. Although study findings have shown that using multiple models for SCD care is feasible and cost-effective, nurses’ awareness of evidence-based guidelines and care models for acute pain management in ambulatory settings is lacking.


  • Limited access to specialty care for adults with SCD leads to increased rates of acute care utilization, but a variety of models of care have the potential to fill this gap. 
  • Strong nursing assessment and communication skills are crucial to safe triage of acute pain in adults with SCD in the ambulatory setting. 
  • Nursing leadership must establish clear organizational policies and guidelines to support safe nursing practice when treating acute pain in patients with SCD in the ambulatory setting. 
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